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Lawrence William Smith

I Need to buy a new Windows pc what should I get?

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It’s time for me to buy a new windows PC. I want it to last the next 5 – 8 years. What should I get in the way of…. The CPU,RAM, Hard Drive, and Storage, and Graphics Card?  I am not  computer literate.

Here is what I will be using it for.

·       Cakewalk by bandlab will be the most complex thing I do on the computer.

·       Basic home movie video editing with adobe premier. Nothing complex.

·       I would like to reduce the myriad of wires if possible.

·       Roland UA-101 interface usb.

·       I want to hook up some basic flat response studio monitors to the UA-101.

·       A flat screen hdmi TV to watch netflix

·       Email

·       Youtube

·       Microsoft word, Excel

·       No gaming.

·       Currently using windows 8.

 Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I am a lost puppy.

Edited by Lawrence William Smith

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2 hours ago, Gswitz said:

Most pcs over 600 dollars should be sufficient for this list.

Almost agree except a stock computer isn't going to come with enough RAM.  

Most in that range are going to be 8 gigs and honestly 16 should be about the minimum (maybe 12 if one is not using many effects/vsts or tracks).  But 8 really isn't enough.

Other than that, as long as the computer has the graphics abilities to run Premiere Pro (OP likely needs to look up the requirements for that - without a dedicated graphics card) if he is going to get an off-the-shelf machine.

 

Stock computers have plenty of CPU these days, and make sure to get an SSD for the operating system and enough to load the programs you have.  Separate drive for Audio/Video projects.  Note Premiere Pro will default storage to the C drive, and that can take up a lot of space.

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If you're going to be running Premiere, make sure to get a decent video card, rather than relying on Intel's built-in graphics. Modern Premiere (and other Adobe apps) can make use of Nvidia cards, and possibly Radeons as well, to speed up rendering, encoding, and other operations. Don't have to break the bank with cutting-edge stuff, a GTX 1060 3gb ($225ish) is plenty.

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Stock pc tends to be noisy and filled with low end components (power supply, motherboard, fans etc.) and unnecessary software that fill/slow your system.   If you have a possibility to buy a custom build pc you'd be more likely to use it longer and happier. Plus you get a nice clean Win10 install to start with.

Suggested recipe:

amd ryzen 3600 or 3700 (€200 or €350)

B450 motherboard (e.g. the pro series from Asus or MSI starting from €100)

2*8 Gb 3200 MHz ram (€80)

250Gb m.2 ssd for operating system (€80), Kingston offers good value

500Gb or 1000Gb sata ssd for audio and video (€70 or €120)

Nvidia 4 Gb 1050 or 1650 graphics card (€150-€200)

Case and 550w  power supply (€60 and €80)

add a few additional case fans to keep it ventilated (€20-€40)

For assembly don't pay over €100

 

You didn't mention budget. But this can work as a rough guide line which others can comment. At least it's more specific than 'don't buy a Dell' 😀

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Get in touch with Jim Roseberry who is a forum member here. He makes and supplies PCs mostly to the professional market especially for Audio/Video work. He regularly tests components with Audio in mind and has access to the latest info on what’s the best, best value etc

For a modest fee he will give you a list of know compatible products and links to suppliers if you want to assemble it yourself or you can get him to do that for you. Many of us here have used Jim’s services and not regretted it. He comes highly recommended.

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If you are going to do orchestral music, do yourself a favor and spring for 32 GB ram. I had an outfit called MagicMicro do a build for me (which I am quite happy with), but I went with 16 GB. I had to upgrade it to 32. would have been easier and cheaper to just put it in at the start.

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I think the extra expense of buying a computer made by a systems integrator who's dedicated to making music machines is the way to go. It's not just that they know the hardware, they can give you support you'll never get with a custom-built computer. If music is a hobby, then you can save a few hundred dollars by doing it yourself. But if you depend on your computer for a living, being able to have almost 24/7 support is vital. There are three companies that get uniformly good reviews on their computers and their service:

  • Studio Cat (Jim Roseberry)
  • PC Audio Labs
  • Sweetwater Creation Station

 

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I was in the same position as you last year. I wanted to build a system that would last for the next 10 years so I didn't skimp. I ended up spending around $2,700 CDN ($2,000US) and am very happy with my system. If you record anything with a mic and plan to have the PC in the same room you need to consider noise. A sound proof case, fanless graphic card and only SSD drives is what I used. I can barely hear my computer and it is 3 feet away from me. If you use a lot of virtual instruments then 32 Gig of RAM is good, I personally installed 16 Gigs and that is easily enough for my needs. You also have to consider connections for your audio interface. Because I wanted my system to use the latest protocol I decided to go with Thunderbolt over PC.  Here in Canada I couldn't find a Thunderbolt equipped Mobo so I had to order one in from the US and it wasn't cheap. USB is fine for audio so I don't think this is a necessity. I did a lot of research and comparisons before buying the components, so if you don't have the time for that then buying a specialist audio PC is the way to go, as others have stated. I had my local computer store build it for me for a fee. I am a hobbyist working solely on my own music, and so far, knock on wood, my system has been rock solid with no issues. Good luck!

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19 hours ago, lmu2002 said:

250Gb m.2 ssd for operating system (€80), Kingston offers good value

 

Regarding the M.2 SSD, they use two SATA lanes instead of the one other components use. Something to consider if one plans on putting extra hard drives in the case, or wants to use two DVD drives for copying purposes.

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2 hours ago, Chappel said:

Regarding the M.2 SSD, they use two SATA lanes instead of the one other components use. Something to consider if one plans on putting extra hard drives in the case, or wants to use two DVD drives for copying purposes.

Good point. When using an m.2 drive you can use only 4 sata ports/drives  with a B450 mother board. If you need more you must get a B550 or X570 series board which also give you  PCIe Gen4 for futher future proof.

I'm curious what the audio specific hardware means exactly in terms of pc components such as motherboard, ram memory or cpu. I know Intel cpus seem  faster in extremely low buffer situations (but then Amd typically gives you more cores/threads for the  price), and X570 boards have an extra chipset fan on board which can be a pain.  And that an idle/desktop stopping Gpu fan is desirable for an audio pc. Other than that, I'm clueless.  Maybe I've been lucky but all the components I have bought have been working great with audio. Surely the more expensive stuff give you more power (and better cases likely keep the noise in the box better) but that should be obvious.

Plenty of very good thoughts from every one! Would be nice to see a comment from the OP.

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Get as much RAM as you can.
i7 processor too.

Personally I use the MS Surface Book or sometimes my wife's MS Surface Pro.
Not had any issues.

I didn't consider HDD size to be too important as files are saved on the NAS or in "the cloud".

Edited by Paul H

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You said you weren't computer literate, so the extra money you pay to a systems integrater will be money well spent.

  • Great Idea 1

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